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A fatal incident occurred when an Assistant Driller (AD) placed his head and an arm into a platform drilling rig’s vertical Mud/Gas Separator (MGS) through its inspection hatch, while performing the assigned, but non-routine task of removing built up and hardened material from inside the MGS.  A BSEE Panel investigation identified a number of established Safe Work Practices (SWPs) that, if followed, should have prevented the task from proceeding in the manner in which it occurred. The contaminating material, believed to be cement, had already begun to cure and harden inside the MGS when it was discovered. The decision was made to attempt to remove the material, and supervisors authorized the task without understanding of the extent of the buildup.

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